|Breathe My Air
Author: Rosage PM
A collection of short pieces focusing on various female/female relationships. 4. Heather/Mist. It was only supposed to be a fun day at the market...until Heather's mom collapses, leading Heather to learn that maybe it is possible to rely on someone else.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Miledy & Guinevere - Chapters: 4 - Words: 4,253 - Reviews: 6 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 07-24-12 - Published: 07-16-12 - id: 8328075
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: I have two more pieces to post for this collection, but I'm prioritizing other projects so they'll have to wait. This one is for an anonymous prompter, who requested Heather/Mist with Heather teaching Mist thief arts.
When Mist asked Heather to teach her to steal, she'd sounded so earnest (and smiled so cutely) that Heather had agreed. She'd assured Mist their marketplace conquest would bring them a pile of riches, but secretly, she planned to find a way around the theft, as there was no reason for such a sweet girl to risk prison…or guilt.
Heather kept that thought buried as she skulked at the edge of the market, directing Mist with touches on her shoulder. She gave the girl tips about how to distract shopkeepers, then used one of the tactics on Mist to stall her eagerness. Heather's story about sneaking into the royal treasury was a lie, of course—the only time she'd gotten near the castle, she'd only stolen a glimpse of the queen—but didn't everyone expect stories to be embellished? Besides, the way Mist clung to her every word, Heather thought they could get through the day without stealing more than an apple.
Heather started making fun of men who passed. While Mist giggled at a barb about a merchant's hat, a man interrupted.
"You Heather?" he asked.
Heather's eyes narrowed. "What's that to you?" She sized him up for worth. If he proved not to know what get lost meant, he'd find himself with one less possession.
"Don't give me any sass, lady. Your mother's collapsed. I suggest you…"
His words fell on deaf ears. Heather was already halfway down the street.
She ducked into an alley. She'd been avoiding them while Mist was around, but that was no longer her concern. Her feet pounded the dirt. The lanes, usually comforting in their familiarity, cast shadows of blame around her. The medicine. Had she not gotten enough? A chill ran down her neck when she realized someone was following her. An alley fight was the last thing she needed.
Reaching for the knife at her hip, she whirled. Mist jerked away from the outstretched blade.
Heather stared for a moment before hiding the weapon. She certainly hadn't planned to show Mist this side of her, but she wasn't in the mood to sweet-talk her into forgetting it now. "What are you doing? This place is dangerous," she said.
Clasped to her chest, Mist's hands clenched into fists. "I'm coming with you! Your mother is hurt, right?"
Heather groaned. She had no time to reason with a stubborn girl. "All right, but I can't promise an alley monster won't gobble you up."
Mist's called after her as she ran. "I could fight it off! I'm a mercenary, you know." Heather might have been amused had her heart not been trampling her chest.
After reaching the end of the alley, she spared a glance to see if Mist was still on her heels before continuing on to her house. After reaching the door, she began picking the lock. Only once she'd hurled herself inside did she remember the key in her pocket.
"Mom!" she shouted.
The only voice that came was Mist. "Ma'am! Are you all right? Say something!"
Turning, Heather saw that Mist was still outside the house, kneeling on the gravel. A figure lay beside her. Cursing, Heather hurried to her mother's side. She found a pulse and let out a heavy breath.
Anger surged in to replace the fear. "What is she doing out here? She was in no condition to go out, and I even locked the door…!" Gritting her teeth, Heather tried to remember who the man who'd approached her was. Had he seriously found her like this and just left her? Trust a man to be that thoughtless.
When Heather began a tirade, Mist pressed a finger to her lips and pointed. Her mother's eyelids fluttered.
"Hm? Whas…Oh, Heather!" Her mother smiled as if Heather had just come in with the afternoon tea.
"Mom! Are you okay?"
Her mother yawned. "Course I am. What's the ruckus?"
Her teeth sore from grinding, Heather clenched her fists, preparing to shout things she didn't mean. Mist saved her by interrupting.
"You collapsed in your garden, ma'am. Are you in pain?" Mist asked. Her voice was soothing like sweet tea.
"My head hurts something dreadful," Heather's mother said. She patted it feebly. "Oh, but don't worry yourself, dearie. There's always one thing or another." Her eyes blinked and then snapped into focus. "Oh! That's right…my garden. I wanted to see it, so I snuck out the window. Heather keeps locks on the doors, you see. She thinks I should stay cooped up all day." Her laugh made Heather's face turn hot.
"Do you have any idea how worried I—"
A touch on Heather's arm silenced her. "Keeping your voice low is one of the first rules of healing," Mist said gently. "The important thing is to get her inside, right?"
Heather shook her head. "Of course. Up and at'em, ma."
"Wait," her mother said. "I haven't gotten to see the flowers yet. I think I hit my head."
I wonder why that would be, Heather thought.Kinder than her, Mist helped her mother into a seated position. "Can you see now, ma'am?"
Her mother looked around at the loose collection of herbs and roses. A serene look came over her. "Yes, thank you, dear. They're lovely." Heather shared a smile with Mist until her mother added, "Mind, Heather needs to look after them better."
Heather rolled her eyes. "Okay, Ma, inside with you."
They got her into the house and laid her on the bed. Heather moved to fuss over her, but Mist intervened. Yielding to Mist's training, Heather hung back and fidgeted, cutting in with information about her mother's needs. After a while, Mist suggested she rest, and seeing that Mist knew what she was doing, Heather took the invitation.
She didn't realize how wound up she was until she sat down. She'd assumed Mist had just been getting rid of her, but perhaps she'd noticed Heather's tension. Rare peace washed over her Heather as she closed her eyes. She couldn't remember the last time she'd gotten to lean back while someone else took care of everything. Maybe Mist would be interested in being a live-in healer, she mused. Or a live-in wife.
Heather shook that thought away. Now that was getting ahead of herself! Besides, she'd learned from her mother's mistake. Marrying was not something she planned to do in this lifetime
A thought hit her. Her eyes snapped open. While she sat here with her guard down, Mist could be cheerfully telling her mother about how your daughter was going to teach me to pickpocket! She watched their conversation with bated breath, waiting for a chance to jump in.
However, she only heard chatter about the garden and Mist's family before Mist left the bedside. She nodded to Heather.
"I gave her something to put her to sleep," Mist whispered. "I should probably go home soon. I don't want Titania to worry."
Heather walked her to the door. "Thanks a bunch for everything. I owe ya at least five days at the market, plus spoils."
"Goodie!" Mist said, brightening. "I can't wait."
Grinning, Heather ruffled Mist's hair before sobering. "By the way…thanks for not mentioning that to her. You know. The whole thief thing. Ma—well, she's not supposed to know, but I think she—"
Mist cut her off. "I understand. Don't worry about it."
Once again, Heather felt soothed. She couldn't remember the last time anyone had told her not to worry.
"You're a sweet girl," she said, before placing a kiss on Mist's cheek.
Mist blushed. "Nah. I just wanted to help. And…um…I want to keep helping, so I'll come back soon, okay? I already asked your mom!" she called as she waved and skipped away.
Shaking her head, Heather went inside. Even the sight of her bed-ridden mother couldn't peel the grin off her face. She rearranged the sheets around her mother's chin, feeling aimless now that her job had been done for her. Her mother's eyes fluttered open.
"Heather," she croaked.
"That girl says fresh air is good for the sick, so you'd better take me out more often."
Heather laid a hand on her mother's forehead. "I will, Ma."
Her mother's eyes twinkled. "You'd better bring her back soon. She's a real keeper. She's got all sorts of stories—her priest friend is as sick as me, she says, and he travelled all over the world! Can you imagine?"
"I can, actually," Heather said. She had been there, after all. The implication soaked in. She looked at her mother. Could she imagine it? "Well, maybe we should start with the garden." She kissed her mother's cheek.
"Yes, that'd be nice." The drought slurred her voice. "Heather?"
"Get her something nice to wear at the wedding. I like pink." She drifted off before Heather could respond.
Stupefied, Heather didn't know whether to roll her eyes or smile. She settled on both. You timed it like that on purpose, she thought, tucking the covers around her mother's ears. She couldn't muster irritation. She was too busy planning the next trip to the market, where she planned to acquire some gardening tools.
Of course, if she happened to come by a pink dress while she was there…well, it would be the noble lady's own fault.